2018 Missouri General Assembly | St. Louis Public Radio

2018 Missouri General Assembly

Rep. Marsha Haefner, R-Oakville
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Marsha Haefner to the program.

The Oakville Republican has served in the Missouri House for close to eight years. She is a member of the House Budget Committee and the chairwoman of the House Fiscal Review Committee.

File Photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

One busy week leads to another as Missouri lawmakers wrestle with tax credits, a major ethics bill, and next year’s state budget.

The House this week sent a proposed lobbyist gift ban to the Senate, which is conducting a public hearing on it next week. The bill has died two years in a row over concerns that accepting a piece of gum or a slice of pizza could become illegal. But Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, said he’s committed to crafting a gift ban that the full Senate can support.

Colorful photos hang on the walls at HCI Alternatives in Collinsville. The marijuana dispensary is set up like a typical doctor's office.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Jim Neely, one of a handful of doctors in the Missouri General Assembly, believes medical marijuana would help people with terminal illnesses.

That includes his daughter, who died of cancer several years ago.

Gov. Eric Greitens sits down for an interview with St. Louis Public Radio in downtown St. Louis on July 17, 2017.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is facing fresh calls for his resignation on Tuesday, this time from Republican lawmakers that haven’t quarreled with the GOP chief executive in the past.

It’s the latest indication that Greitens is in a perilous position after admitting last week that he had an extramarital affair before becoming governor, but denying accusations he took a photo of the woman to keep the infidelity a secret.

Lt. Gov. Mike Parson introduces Greitens before he makes his State of the State address.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

Amid a sex scandal that threatens his political future, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has canceled plans to hold an event Tuesday in St. Peters to promote his tax-cut proposal.

 

Greitens was scheduled to appear at Arrowhead Building Supply, which provides building materials to contractors.

Gov. Eric Greitens greets guests at his residence after being sworn in on Jan. 9, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On a special edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies talk about Gov. Eric Greitens’ admission of an extramarital affair — and allegations that he blackmailed a woman to prevent her from speaking out.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens sits  for an interview with St. Louis Public Radio in downtown St. Louis on July 17, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated January 11 at 4:20 p.m. with Gardner investigation —  Missouri House and Senate Republican leaders issued almost identical statements of concern Thursday as they otherwise declined comment on the sex scandal swirling around Gov. Eric Greitens.

Using the bad weather as an excuse, most lawmakers fled the state Capitol, and both chambers adjourned swiftly until next Tuesday.

However, a bipartisan group of senators – all frequent critics of the governor – announced they were sending a letter asking state Attorney General Josh Hawley to investigate the matter.

Gov. Eric Greitens delivers the 2018 State of the State address in Jefferson City.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens used his State of the State address Wednesday to announce a proposal to cut state taxes this year, even as the state budget is still adjusting to earlier state and federal tax cuts that are just now going into effect.

St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum interviewed state Reps. Kip Kendrick and Martha Stevens at KBIA studios in Columbia, Missouri.
Ryan Famuliner I KBIA

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum is pleased to welcome state Reps. Kip Kendrick and Martha Stevens to the program.

Rosenbaum recorded the show with the Columbia Democrats at KBIA’s studios on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus. Both lawmakers represent fairly Democratic-leaning districts that take in portions of the city of Columbia.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The search has begun for Missouri’s next education commissioner, even though there currently aren’t enough board members to vote on hiring Margie Vandeven’s successor.

Ten people applied for the job by Monday’s deadline. But Board of Education President Charlie Shields said they can’t even review their applications until there are at least five voting members on the State Board.

Former Gov. Jay Nixon stands next to his official portrait last week in Jefferson City. (January 2018)
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When lawmakers gaveled themselves back into session on Jan. 3, most people focused on tension between Gov. Eric Greitens and the Missouri Senate — or how the GOP-controlled legislature may struggle to solve big policy problems over the next few months.

But for a brief moment on Thursday, legislators from both parties took a break from the Jefferson City rigor to shower praise on former Gov. Jay Nixon.

Republican State Rep. Warren Love speaks with members of the audience of a House Ethics Committee hearing on Jan. 4, 2018.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A state representative from rural Missouri won’t face any punishment for a controversial Facebook post he made last summer.

The House Ethics Committee considered sanctions against Rep. Warren Love, R-Osceola, for a Facebook post in which he said vandals who defaced a Confederate monument should be “hung from a tall tree with a long rope.”

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum is pleased to welcome House Speaker Todd Richardson back on the show for the fifth time.

The Poplar Bluff Republican is in his final year in the Missouri House. He has served as speaker since the middle of 2015.

Sen. Ryan Silvey, left, converses with Sen. Mike Cierpoit on the first day of the 2018 legislative session. Silvey stepped down from the Senate to join the Public Service Commission.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Ryan Silvey has been confirmed as the next member of the Missouri Public Service Commission, and has resigned his seat in the State Senate.

The Republican from Kansas City was appointed by Gov. Eric Greitens, who Silvey has criticized for accepting money from politically-active non-profit groups that don’t reveal their donors. He also criticized Greitens for how he dealt with lawmakers in the GOP-controlled General Assembly.

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, gives his opening day address on January 3, 2018.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri General Assembly is back in session. And while the House is slated to have an early focus on overhauling ethics laws, the Senate is planning to take a hard look at some of Gov. Eric Greitens’ appointees.

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, is pushing his chamber to pass a bill banning gifts from lobbyists before the end of the month. Last year at this time the House sent a similar bill to the Senate, where it died without a vote.

Jumira Moore, 8, watches as her mother, Timira Saunders, fills out a ballot at Central Baptist Church in St. Louis on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s indisputable that 2017 produced enough policy and political storylines to keep bespectacled reporters busy. But an even-numbered year brings elections — and the potential for a whole different texture to the state’s politics.

Republican state Reps. Jay Barnes, center, and Justin Alferman, right, converse with Alex Curchin, left, during the last day of the Missouri General Assembly's 2017 legislative session.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Heightened tensions between Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and fellow Republicans who control the General Assembly will likely add drama when the 2018 legislative session begins next Wednesday.

Because 2018 is an election year, it’s long been assumed that lawmakers will avoid divisive topics that could upset voters. But that might not be possible this time.

Sen. Caleb Rowden, center, was elected to the Missouri Senate in 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and KBIA’s Bram Sable-Smith welcome back Sen. Caleb Rowden to the show.

The Columbia Republican represents Missouri’s 19th Senatorial District. That includes Boone and Cooper Counties, which include the cities of Columbia and Boonville.